Most people in Central Florida who decide to file a petition for bankruptcy expect to have all their debts wiped out when the proceeding concludes. What many of these people do not realize is that some debts may be "reaffirmed" - that is, they may decide to shield certain debts from the discharge powers of the bankruptcy court.
Many people in central Florida who are considering filing a bankruptcy petition worry that all of their property, including their home, will be taken from them to pay the claims of creditors. If a person seeks discharge of all of their debts in a Chapter 7 proceeding, most, if not all, of their assets will indeed be sold to provide cash to pay creditors. In a Chapter 13 proceeding, debtors may be able to keep a significant portion of their assets by working out a satisfactory repayment plan. Regardless of which bankruptcy proceeding is selected, Florida law permits debtors to declare certain assets "exempt" from the claims of creditors. The list of exemptions is quite long, but the major exemptions can be easily summarized.
Many people in Central Florida think of bankruptcy as a dark, twisted road with an unknown outcome. While the end of a bankruptcy case cannot always be accurately predicted, virtually every personal bankruptcy case begins with the same event: the issuance of a court order called the "automatic stay." The automatic stay provides the debtor with immediate protection from collection actions by creditors while the evaluation of the debtor's assets proceeds.